WILDER, Idaho (AP) - Ivanka Trump and Apple CEO Tim Cook visited a heavily Hispanic Idaho school district on Tuesday to trumpet her workforce development initiative promoting science, technology, engineering and math.
Apple in 2016 donated iPads to all students and teachers in the low-income school district in the small city of Wilder as part of a program to help students lacking access to technology. School officials said that the visit showcased how the district has combined learning and technology.
A small group of President Donald Trump’s supporters and opponents demonstrated outside the elementary school where the visit occurred, while several students from the high school next door walked out of class in protest.
The students primarily said they don’t like the way the district is using the new technology, but other protesters also decried Trump’s immigration policies, his daughter’s use of a private email account for government business and limited school funding.
Many demonstrated against Trump’s deployment of thousands of troops to the Mexican border after he said a caravan of migrants is a threat to U.S. national security.
“When babies at the border are under attack, what do we do?” protester Estefania Mondragon asked a crowd of about 30 people. They responded: “Stand up, fight back!”
About a dozen of the president’s supporters shouted “We love Trump!”
Crystal Solas brought her 10-year-old daughter, Jennavee Crabtree, to protest the visit. She said she was motivated by revelations that Ivanka Trump sent hundreds of government business emails from a personal email account last year.
“What was good enough for Hillary Clinton should be good enough for Trump’s daughter,” she said, holding a sign reading “Lock Her Up.” Her daughter held a sign saying, “Make America great again and tell your daddy to step down.”
The students said the iPads offer self-guided lessons that give them no interaction with teachers except to unlock quizzes and advance to the next learning sections. “We’re really known because we have the iPads, but we’re ranked one of the lowest academically in what we learn,” said 16-year-old Adriana Rodriguez.
Wilder Superintendent Jeff Dillon said the students are able to request additional help or different learning programs from teachers if they are struggling with the iPad-based curriculum.
The district is one of southwestern Idaho’s poorest, and was one of 114 low-income schools in 29 states that Apple helped with iPad donations. Virtually all of the city’s elementary students meet low income guidelines to receive free or reduced cost lunches and a majority of the district’s students are Hispanic.
Wilder has a population of less than 2,000 and has been largely Hispanic for decades, with many residents working seasonal jobs harvesting onions and other crops, and others who have full-time jobs at a meat processing plant.
Dillon said the visit went well, and both Trump and Cook were prepared with questions and insight into the district’s efforts. Trump said she’s visited 20 states across the country as part of her efforts in workforce development and STEM initiatives.
Ridler reported from Boise.
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